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Commited to Excellence

In 2006, The Level Playing Field Corporation Board of Directors installed a one-of-a-kind autonomous Board of Governors whose primary responsibility is to ensure academic policy and practice for the benefit of Grantham University and its students.  This responsibility includes review of academic courses and degree programs, forecasts and budgets.

The Governors are completely independent.  Its members are highly accomplished representatives of the learner communities which GU serves, and they have no economic interest in Grantham or LPF.  A majority of the Governors have served on the Board for more than a decade.

Alternatively, the Level Playing Field Corporation’s Board of Directors’ primary responsibility is to ensure the economic stability of the institution for the benefit of the University, its staff, and its students and alumni.  Collectively the boards act to ensure stability and continuous improvement for the benefit of the institution, academic programs and brand, students, staff, and shareholders.

Board of Directors

Mr. Macon founded The Level Playing Field® (“LPF”) in 1998. LPF’s name bears its mission which is to ‘level the playing field’ of opportunity for adult learners by facilitating unfettered access to a quality college education (i.e. authentic “open admission”) for anyone who expresses sincere desire to earn a college degree.

LPF’s mission was informed by Tom’s personal experience as an employee of large multinational corporations and by managing his own businesses. Both as employee and business owner, Tom witnessed vast limitations and lack of career opportunities for people who didn’t have a college degree. Bright, determined, hard-working individuals didn’t have much chance for upward mobility because they lacked the essential credential to prosper in a 21st Century Knowledge Economy – a college degree.

Grantham University, then 50-years-old and founded by a WWII Veteran in 1951 to serve fellow Veterans became the academic platform that LPF acquired in November 2000 to fulfill its mission.

Fast forward two decades – with LPF’s investment, Grantham University, today 70 years old and fully online, has graduated over 30,000 adult students, most from historically underserved communities and first-generation college families. The ‘playing field’ has indeed been ‘leveled’ and lives have been transformed.

It is LPF’s intention that the thousands of individual success stories over the past twenty years serve as incontrovertible evidence a high-quality/low-cost college degree delivered completely online is viable and can serve the greater good. These successes mark the beginning of Grantham University’s next chapter to serve more people in need, particularly those who need a second or third chance - having some college credit but lacking a college degree. Grantham University and Tom have been recipients of national, regional and local awards in recognition of the work The Level Playing Field® has done helping others.

Prior to LPF, Tom founded a specialty retail company that grew to multiple locations and employed a large number of people who didn’t have a college degree. Working side-by-side these praiseworthy people served as further motivation for Tom, after he sold his company, to turn his attention to try to help solve the problem of democratizing college education by making it both affordable and accessible through the use of technology.

Prior to 1990, Tom held a variety of sales and sales management positions with the Coca-Cola Foods Company, ConAgra Foods, and Mutual of Omaha.

Tom currently serves on the board of directors of The Friends of the Uniformed Services University Medical School and as a council member for The Figgers Foundation Leadership Council.

He and his wife Deborah have two terrific adult children, two beautiful grandchildren and when not spending time with family and friends, each serves on boards of organizations that are grounded in mission to serve others.

Thomas M. Macon
Founder, Chairman of the Board, and CEO
Joe Eash has been a Distinguished Fellow and Chief Scientist for the Center for Technology & National Security Policy of the National Defense University from August 2001 to September 2004. From April 2997 to March 2001, he was Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Advanced Systems & Concepts. Mr. Eash has held the positions of Principle Research Engineer for the Georgia Tech Research Institute, Senior Vice President for Applied Technology Programs for GRC Interational, and Senior Vice President of Engineering Research Group for SRI International. In 2012, Mr. Eash was selected as a National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) Pioneer. There were only 80 people who received this recognition in the NRO's first fifty years of operations. ​ Mr. Eash continues to support the Federal Government pro Bono by mentoring several individuals and by providing regular recommendations concerning technology of possible benefit to the Department of Defense. In recent years the technology recommendations have focused on heal care, social science, management and organizational structure and leadership.
Joseph J. Eash, III
Director of the Company Since 2001
George Northup is a long time Silicon Valley CEO having successfully built multiple companies. He serves as board member and advisor to various technology companies. George was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, the son of Presbyterian missionaries. ​ George is a cum laude graduate of Duke University and has long been an active alumnus and benefactor. In particular, George mentors numerous undergraduates and alumni on their careers and startup ventures. He is very active in his local community serving as a longtime coach for youth lacrosse. In particular he is a big supporter and benefactor of Oakland Lacrosse Club, an organization dedicated to empowering inner city youth to attain their personal and educational goals. ​ George has a particular interest in advising companies in the health care technology space, with the mission of improving health and lives of individuals everywhere.
George Northup
Director of the Company Since 2008
Peter M. Schulte is a Managing Partner and a co-founder of CM Equity Partners (CMEP) where he has established successful publicly traded companies, including ICF International (NASDAQ: ICFI) and ATS Corporation (formerly AMEX: ATSC). He currently serves as a director of ICF International which has a public equity market capitalization in excess of $1.5 billion. Peter also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of JANUS Research Group, Inc., Citizant, Inc., Preferred Systems Solutions, Inc. and Systems Planning & Analysis. Inc. His prior experience includes corporate public and private debt and equity financing and M&A at Salomon Brothers Inc. Peter began his professional career in large systems marketing at IBM’s Data Processing Division. He is a graduate of Harvard College (AB) and holds a Master’s degree in Public and Private Management (MPPM) from Yale University. He also serves on the Executive Committee of the boards of several non-profit organizations, including Lasell University (Boston, MA), the Rainforest Alliance, and Friends of Bellport Bay. Peter is an active Triathlete and Marathoner and is the proud father of two daughters.
Peter M. Schulte
Director of the Company Since 2013
Joel R. Jacks is a Managing Partner and a Founder of CM Equity Partners. In 1992, Mr. Jacks co-founded and managed Carl Marks Consulting Group LLC. He has extensive experience in managing companies and restructuring debt in a wide variety of industries. From 1988 to 1992, Mr. Jacks was a private consultant involved in interim management and profit improvement programs for under-performing companies. From 1984 to 1988, he served as CFO, and later as CEO, of USSCO (a subsidiary of ADT, Ltd.), a distributor of security alarm and CCTV equipment throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico. From 1976 to 1983, Mr. Jacks worked for The Penn Central Corporation as Director of Financial Planning and IT Director and was involved with the restructuring of Penn Central’s debt public securities. He also was assigned to the New York City Partnership to assist the NYC Transportation Authority as the IT Vice President. Prior to 1976, Mr. Jacks was a Management Consultant for Deloitte Haskins & Sells. Related to CM Equity Partner’s private equity investing activities, Mr. Jacks is a member of the Board of Directors for Systems Planning & Analysis, Inc., The Level Playing Field Corp., JANUS Research Group, Inc. and Black ICE Holdings, Inc. Mr. Jacks received a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Cape Town and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a Chartered Accountant.
Joel R. Jacks
Director of the Company Since 2013

Grantham University Board of Governors

Dr. Carol A. Romano, Rear Admiral, USPHS (Ret.) is professor and dean of the Daniel K. Inouye Graduate School of Nursing at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. ​ She has served in a variety of leadership positions within the United States Public Health Service in the Office of the Surgeon General, including Acting Deputy Surgeon General, Acting Chief of Staff, Director of the Office of Reserve Affairs, and Chief Nurse Officer. She was also co-architect of the world’s first graduate curriculum in nursing informatics at the University of Maryland School of Nursing. In addition, Dr. Romano served as advisor to the World Health Organization (WHO) for management of manpower and health information in developing countries. ​ She earned her Bachelor of Science, Master of Science and Ph.D. in Nursing all from the University of Maryland School of Nursing, and completed leadership programs at Harvard Kennedy School of Government and University of Pennsylvania Wharton School. She is also board certified in nursing informatics and as an advanced nurse executive.
Carol A. Romano
Command Sergeant Major (Ret.) Lindsey Streeter is currently vice president of military and veterans affairs at Bank of America. He retired in 2016 from the United States Army with more than 30 years of service. He continues to serve the state of Georgia as an Army Reserve Ambassador. While in the Army, he held positions in the field of sexual harassment and assault response, as well as recruiting and logistics. Additionally, CSM Streeter served as a professional witness to Congress on Recruiting Affairs and is a member of the prestigious Sergeant Audie Murphy Club. His many military distinctions range from The Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal with two campaign stars, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Kuwait Liberation Medal and the Army Superior Unit Award, to the Glen E. Morrell Medallion for Excellence in Recruiting, the Recruiter's Ring for Excellence in Recruiting, and the Gold Recruiter Badge with three sapphire stars. CSM Streeter attended the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy (class 57) and earned his Master of Science in Performance Improvement from Grantham University. He also holds a facilitator's certification for Franklyn Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People empowerment course. In April 2017, he received the 2017 Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) Outstanding Graduate Award for Grantham University.
Lindsey Streeter
Mr. Harry Hagerty is the president and chief executive officer of Math Mastery, an e-Learning company that provides tutorial products for AOL, Discovery and 71,000 schools nationwide. He brings significant educational technology expertise to the Board. He served as chairman and CEO of Globalink, Inc., a translation software development and publishing company until its acquisition in 1998 by Lernout & Hauspie. Mr. Hagerty participated in the initial funding of the Discovery Channel and was founder of Digital Switch Corporation (now “DSC Communications, Inc.”). He graduated from West Point in 1962.
Harry Hagerty
Lieutenant General Thomas G. Rhame retired from the United States Army on September 30, 1997. Following his retirement, he served as vice president and chief financial officer of the Association of the U.S. Army from 1998 until 2014. His last active duty assignment was as the director of the Defense Security Assistance Agency with the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He was also the chief of the U.S. Military Training Mission to Saudi Arabia. During Operation Desert Shield/Storm in 1990 and 1991, General Rhame was the Commanding General of the 1st Infantry Division (The Big Red One). Under his command, the Division successfully conducted the initial attack to penetrate Iraqi defensive positions, conducted the rapid passage of lines for the British 1st Armored Division, conducted a night attack against elements of the Iraqi Republican Guard, and played a critical role in the liberation of Kuwait. He also served two tours of combat in Vietnam, his first in 1967 commanding B Company, 12th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division, and his second in 1971, serving as a District Senior Advisor with USAMACV. ​ General Rhame received the Defense Distinguished Service Medal (with oak leaf cluster), the Distinguished Service Medal (with two oak leaf clusters), the Silver Star (with oak leaf cluster), the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star with V device (with two oak leaf clusters), the Meritorious Service Medal (with two oak leaf clusters), the Air Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal with V device. He graduated from Louisiana State University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant, Infantry, through the Reserve Officer Training Corps in 1963. He holds a Master of Business Administration with a Comptroller specialty from Syracuse University, and is a graduate of the U.S. Army War College, class of 1981. ​ General Rhame is married to his high school sweetheart, the former Linda Saunders of Lecompte, Louisiana. They reside in Woodbridge, Virginia, and have two children, Rebecca Isakower and Gregg Rhame, and three grandchildren, Taylor, Ashley and Emily.
Tomas G. Rhame
Commander Everett Alvarez, Jr. (Ret.), a distinguished Naval officer and government executive, is best known to the public as the first American aviator shot down over North Vietnam. He was taken prisoner on August 5, 1964, and held in North Vietnam as a POW for eight and a half years, until the general release of the American prisoners on February 12, 1973. ​ Since his retirement from the U.S. Navy in 1980, Commander Alvarez has held a number of notable positions, including: deputy director of the U.S. Peace Corps; deputy administrator of what was then the Veterans Administration; and chairman of the CARES Commission, a 16-member, independent panel chartered by the Secretary to recommend critical change within the Veteran Affairs Department. He is past chairman of the Board of Regents, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS); a past member of the Board of Directors of the National Graduate University; a member of the Board of Fellows of Santa Clara University; and served on the White House Fellows Selection Committee and on the Board of Directors of the Armed Services YMCA of the USA. ​ In 2008, Commander Alvarez was selected and honored by the “Council for Excellence in Government” as one of the 25 greatest public servants, over the past 25 years, for his remarkable service to our nation. In November 2008, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences named the Board of Regents meeting center in honor of his service to the University and to military medicine. In January 2010, he was awarded the Richard Nixon Library Foundation’s first “American Hero” award for a lifetime of service to our nation. And in September 2012, Commander Alvarez was awarded the prestigious Lone Sailor Award, presented by the Navy Memorial Foundation in Washington, D.C. He holds numerous military decorations, some of which are: the Silver Star, two Legions of Merit (with Combat “V”), two Bronze Stars (with Combat “V”), the Distinguished Flying Cross and two Purple Heart Medals.
Everett Alvarez, JR.
Mr. John Ashford is an advisor to Fortune 100 companies as chairman and chief executive officer of The Hawthorn Group, L.C., an Alexandria, Virginia, international public affairs firm that he co-founded more than 25 years ago. He received his Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, from Missouri Valley College, where he served on the board for nearly 20 years and from which he received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree. He co-chaired Missouri Valley’s Presidential Task Force on strategic planning. Mr. Ashford earned his Master’s in Public Administration at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where he served for many years on the Dean's Advisory Council. He has lectured at a score of universities, from New York to Moscow. With extensive university board experience, he provides great insight to Grantham’s Board of Governors, having been actively involved in higher education issues, representing numerous educational clients, including major universities.
John Ashford